I also wish to say right now that I favor the chronograph edition of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe within the three-hand model. Obviously, not everybody agrees with me, but this is my personal preference as I find the three-hand version’s dial a bit visually bare. On the flip side, I surely prefer the three-hand version of the first Fifty Fathoms versions above their chronograph models.A good grounds for this besides aesthetics is that the motion inside of this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph that’s the in-house-made Blancpain caliber F385 automatic chronograph. You are able to watch the movement through the back of the situation, and it isn’t hard to tell that it is lovely in both design and decoration. Modern lines and contours decorate this contemporary mechanical motion which also happens to boast a 5Hz (36,000bph) operating frequency. That is the same as the celebrated Zenith El Primero, and 1Hz faster than most standard 4Hz chronograph watches.Given the faster operating speed of this movement you get two areas of benefits. First is somewhat less useful to most people, and that’s the capability to be a little more precise when using the chronograph. Second is how a greater operating frequency of the balance wheel signifies that rate result errors are averaged out more. That translates into more accuracy over time – a good thing. It is correct that 5Hz movements of any sort are rare, and in committed dive watches this is pretty much the only one I can think of.The grade F385 includes a power reserve of 50 hours, and the chronograph has a flyback complication too. It is produced from 322 parts, and apparently is specially secured into the case of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph for shock protection functions. Last, the motion features a silicon hair spring, which adds the advantages of more durability and precision with time.
Named after the author of The Little Prince, also a noted aviator who disappeared over the sea in 1944, the IWC Pilot’s Watch “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” line-up gets a modest facelift, while retaining the signature look as well as cost-efficient movements (explaining the affordable prices).
The tweaks and tucks are minor, so the twin features that characterise the Saint-Exupery watches remain: a tobacco brown dial with a metallic finish, as well as a relief of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the type of reconnaissance aircraft the French author was flying when he vanished while on a reconnaissance mission off Corsica.
The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 is the ladies’ watch of the line, with a 36mm steel case. It’s powered by the cal. 35111, which is a Sellita SW300. And like nearly all IWC pilot watches, this has an inner soft iron cage to shield the movement from magnetism. But unlike its larger siblings in the line, the 36mm model does not have an engraved airplane on the case back.
Essentially another variant of the recent Mark XI reissue, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” is 40mm in diameter, and equipped with the same cal. 35111 and soft iron cage.
Last is the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry”, a chronograph powered by the Valjoux 7750. The case is 43mm in diameter and similar protected against magnetism.
Price and availability
All three watches are fitted to calfskin straps produced by Santoni, the Italian shoemaker that supplies many of IWC’s watch bands. The new Saint-Exupery watches are available from IWC boutiques and retailers, priced as follows.
Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 (ref. IW324009) – US$3950 or S$6250
Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” (ref. IW327003) – US$3950 or S$6250
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” (ref. IW377713) – US$4950 or S$7650
Addition July 11, 2017: Singapore dollar prices included.